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The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

How Steph Curry Became the Greatest Shooter Ever

Steph Curry changed the way basketball is played for good.
Here is Stephen Curry shooting before a game. (Photo Credit: Cyrus Saatsaz, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

Stephen Curry is the greatest shooter of all time. Period. There isn’t even a debate anymore. He’s broken just about every record in the book when it comes to shooting 3 pointers. He doesn’t miss. His father, Dell Curry, was also a great shooter in the NBA. He mentored and pushed Steph, putting him through intense training for him to get to where he is today.

Dell wouldn’t allow Steph to shoot three point shots  until he was 10 years old, which is really unusual. This was because in order to shoot straight, you need to keep your elbow tucked in. Shooting a 3-pointer successfully requires proper form and the strength required to get the ball over the front rim, which nobody under the age of 10 has.

Dell would work Steph to the max, teaching him everything he knew about shooting. He trained him to be the greatest shooter of all time, and his methods proved successful.  It’s no surprise that he was successful.

Another element of Steph’s success was his brother Seth. Brothers love to compete, so when Dell put Steph and Seth through the same workouts, Steph never allowed himself to lose to his younger brother. The two would push each other even further than their dad would ever push them, taking everything to the next level. 

Once Steph got the privilege of shooting threes, there was no stopping him.  

Now, his trainers only count the shots he makes but only when he doesn’t even hit the rim, and sometimes even force him to use the backboard while shooting. When training, Curry runs around the court like a mad man, then shoots while he’s tired, which he does with great success in game. His ability to shoot accurately while tired makes him extremely lethal in crunch time, where he’s best. 

Steph Curry’s Off-Day Schedule

  • 8:00   AM:  Wake-Up
  • 8:15    AM:  Play with Kids
  • 8:30   AM:  Breakfast
  • 9:30   AM:  Basketball training & practice
  • 12:00 PM:  Neurocognitive training
  • 2:00   PM:  Lunch
  • 3:00   PM:  Recovery Work
  • 5:00   PM:  Nap
  • 6:30   PM: Dinner
  • 8:00   PM: Family time
  • 9:30   PM: Movies
  • 10:30 PM:  “No screen time”
  • 11:00 PM: Bed

Furthermore, Steph takes conditioning to the extreme, always running and doing cardiovascular exercises to keep his stamina in tiptop shape. Watching Steph makes me tired for him. He’s constantly on the go, having many of his teammates set screens for him and as soon as the defender gets stuck on a screen, he gets the ball and makes the three pointer effortlessly, without breaking a sweat. 

Many NBA players who happen to be legendary themselves, including Lebron James, and Carmelo Anthony, admire Curry’s work ethic and shot making ability. Lebron has publicly said that Curry is the best shooter ever, and has tweeted many things praising Curry’s shooting. 

Carmelo Anthony shared a story on his podcast from a time when Curry was still in college at Davidson University. Steph attended a pro workout that only Melo, Kevin Durant, and other superstar NBA players were invited to attend. While Curry was there, he was watching intently. He took everything they did and implemented it into his own workouts. 

When Curry was working out with them doing his own thing, all the stars were impressed. He was out-working the top NBA players at that time, which was especially noteworthy since Steph  was an under the radar college prospect at a lesser known D1 school: Davidson College.

Throughout his three years at Davidson, Curry averaged 4-9.6 three pointers a game, and shot on average 42% from three. These are impressive numbers, but not on the “greatest shooter of all time” level just yet. 

Things began to change forSteph when the Warriors took a chance on him in the 2009 NBA draft. Mark Jackson got hired as the Warriors coach in 2011, and his basketball philosophy allowed Steph to shine. Jackson wasn’t a traditional coach, and encouraged Curry’s so-called reckless shooting. He even ran an elevator-screen play (click on the link at left to watch it) for Curry to shoot through the gap for a three. Curry was thriving, but the best was still to come.

The Warriors had a lot of potential, but were still losing many games, many more than they believed they should under Jackson’s tutelage. It seemed the Warriors had gone as far as they could with Jackson at the helm, so in 2014, they fired him and replaced him with Steve Kerr. 

Kerr helped launch the Warriors dynasty, and is still the coach there today. Like Curry, he was also a great shooter back in the 1980s and 90s. Like Jackson, he saw Curry’s potential, but he saw more than that. He knew that Curry’s skills could change the game of basketball forever. 

Steph’s done that and much more. In the span of his career, the number of NBA three point attempts per game has nearly doubled! When Steph entered the NBA, the league average three point attempts per game for each team was 18.1. This season, the league average is 35.1 three point attempts per game, which is a monumental jump in just fifteen years.

Throughout Steph’s career, he’s been un-guardable. Defenders have struggled and wasted so much energy chasing him well behind the 3 point line, which they were not used to doing. Before Steph, the most popular shot was the mid-range pull up jumper. This worked because once the offensive player got leverage on the defender, the defender’s main priority was to protect the basket. The best way to do that meant the defender had to be on their heels, allowing the offense to stop on a dime and rise above them, shooting an open jumpshot. Furthermore, this type of play was both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant’s go to move, so naturally everyone else followed suit and adjusted. Steph’s ability to drain long range 3’s caught the opposition off-guard and unprepared to defend against. 

The easiest way to guard this shot is to shade a little off the three point line, predicting the drive and keeping enough leverage to heavily contest any and every shot right on the three point line and within the arc. Curry single-handedly changed the way defense is played, because now you had to guard him as soon as he crossed half court. He was a threat to score no matter where he was, leading to many wide open layups from defenders overcommitting on his shot leaving other teammates wide open.

In the NBA finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015, Matthew Dellavadova played with the sole purpose of guarding Steph Curry. He did an amazing job, and at the end of every game he was drenched in sweat and looked like he was about to pass out, while Steph looked just fine. Dellavedova was the most successful defender of Curry, yet Curry still led the Warriors in points per game with 26, and averaged 6 assists and 5 rebounds as well.

Just last year, in his 30s, Steph played against De’Aaron Fox in the playoffs. Fox had a great season both offensively and defensively, but in this series all of his numbers took a hit. He was the star of the Sacramento Kings, and given Steph Curry as his defensive assignment, his production level drastically decreased. He spent so much of his energy on defense that he petered out when on offense. This led to the Kings breaking down offensively, as Fox was their leading scorer and the head of their offense. 

Steph’s partner in crime, Klay Thompson, is also an amazing shooter. Even though Klay has started to slow down with age, back in their glory days they were something special and were affectionately known as The Splash Brothers. The Splash Brothers were extremely successful and the heart of the Warriors dynasty that won 4 championships together. They also had the best regular season in NBA history, going 73-9, losing to Lebron and his Cavaliers in one of the greatest NBA finals of all time. 

This 2016 finals series was so amazing for many reasons. One overarching storyline was Lebron James trying to bring his beloved hometown of Cleveland their first ever championship. And in another history-making attempt, no team had ever come back from a  3-1 deficit in a 7 game series, but the Warriors faced just that situation. Warriors went down 3-1 against the Thunder, which was Kevin Durant’s former team. All Thunder fans hated KD since he transitioned to the Warriors, and they were riled up and intent on winning the series. Then, the Warriors made history, winning 3 straight games and taking the series to the finals. Unfortunately for The Warriors, Lebron got his wish and won the Cavaliers their first trophy.  

Steph Curry has had one of the greatest NBA careers of all time, including being the first ever unanimous MVP, back to back MVPs (the other one should have been unanimous as well), 4 time NBA champion, 10 time All Star and all NBA, and has a finals MVP under his belt, making himself a case for being a top 10 player of all time, and of course, he’s the greatest shooter ever.

Steph Curry changed the way basketball is played for good, inspiring the youth and professionals alike to work on their 3 point shot.

Steph Curry has had one of the greatest NBA careers of all time, including being the first ever unanimous MVP, back to back MVPs (the other one should have been unanimous as well), 4 time NBA champion, 10 time All Star and all NBA, and has a finals MVP under his belt, making himself a case for being a top 10 player of all time, and of course, he’s the greatest shooter ever.

About the Contributor
Lane Adelson, Staff Reporter
Lane Adelson is a Sports Editor for ‘The Science Survey.’ He loves everything about sports, especially how it brings people of all ages and demographics together. In particular, some of his favorite journalistic pieces are opinionated sports articles. He looks forward to bringing this passion for all aspects of sports into thoughtful and engaging articles to ignite conversation. Lane plays basketball, football, and baseball in his free time and also participates in fantasy sports leagues. Lane would like to continue his focus on sports journalism in college, and continue to play basketball in the process.